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Grateful Dead Live at Oakland Auditorium Arena on 1981-12-31

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Grateful Dead Live at Oakland Auditorium Arena on 1981-12-31

Topics Live concert

Acoustic: Me And Bobby McGee*, Bye Bye Love*, Lucifer's Eyes*, Children Of The Eighties*, Banks Of The Ohio* Electric-1: Shakedown Street, Me & My Uncle-> Mexicali Blues, Cold Rain & Snow, CC Rider**, It Must Have Been The Roses*-> Beat It On Down The Line, Big Boss Man**-> Minglewood Blues**, Don't Ease Me In Electric-2: Iko Iko*, Playin' In The Band-> Terrapin Station-> Playin' In The Band-> Drums-> The Other One***-> Not Fade Away***-> Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad***-> Morning Dew; Encore aka Electric-3: Dark Star-> Bertha-> Good Lovin', It's All Over Now Baby Blue*

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Oakland Auditorium Arena
Location Oakland, CA

Source Soundboard
Lineage SBD> MR> PCM> DAT> CDR> SHN> DAW (Bertha)> CDA
Taped by
Transferred by


Jay Ashley (Bertha) remaster of Jay Serafin's 4 TRACK RTR source; SBD> MR> PCM> DAT> CDR> SHN> DAW(Bertha)> CDA; Note- Joan Baez set missing


Reviewer: oroconliz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 28, 2013
Subject: My first New Year's
I had been a deadhead since 1978. The Holy Grails to East Coast deadheads, at least, was New Year's Shows and Red Rocks shows. I had seen my fair share of shows and this being my first New Year's was a big deal for me. I got a ride from a ride board in Seattle and headed south for the shows. I stayed with a college friend and we literally blew up balloons to get into the New Year's show. So, those balloons that fell on your heads were partly from my labor!!
Anyways, I was able to see three of these and felt very blessed for that. I Loved these shows. Ken Kesey riding down on the joint was fantastic. And the music...I was in heaven.
I have seen a lot of music looking back. This ranks as one of my favorites and one I fondly recall.
Reviewer: Little Sense - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 4, 2011
Subject: only negative of this show is the dying cat sound of the harmonica on Iko
That would be Joan Baez again...the Dead were so far out of her league, this was the end of the relationship between them, Jerry was freaking on her during Baby Blue.

I was front row center, crushed against the rail the whole night. What an event that alternated between extreme joy and sheer terror. Both turned out to be quite enjoyable. I was, shall we say, in an altered state. There were points during the show where the band looked like Skeletons dancing on the stage, at one point they all became invisible and then they turned into prismic rainbows...WOW! During the third set Jerry looked every bit as high if not higher than I felt, he was just crazed. I would love to hop into the time machine and relive this one! Luckily I was altered in such a way that this one stays clear and bright in my memory bank even 30 years later.

This recording sounds great, the music lived up to the experience on relisten. Probably one of the 5 best shows I saw in my 200 show career.
Reviewer: high flow - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 31, 2010
Subject: Acoustic set......
Reviewer: Purple Gel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 31, 2010
Subject: Happy New Years!!!
I attended every New years show from '80 to '88 and this was by far the best IMO. Between the incredible song list and the inspired playing from start to finish, this show rates as one of the best ever!!!

Jerry did indeed break out the Accoustic guitar for Banks Of the Ohio, but by the end of the first verse had traded it in for his electric.
This is the only 4-set show I ever attended, and it was a mind blower. The best time I ever had at a show. As you walked in the Auditorium, there was a floor mural dedicated to Truckin from the year before, when the floor had caved in due to the dancing during Truckin. Graham had a mini volleyball tourney going on before the show inside.
To me this show had everything, a killer song list, just about everything you could want to hear with some very sweet surprises. Jerry is right on from the first note to the end of the night, the mix is perfect, you can hear everyone just right and the whole band is tuned in for a truly incredible show. Opening up the 2nd set is one of the greatest versions of Shakedown you will find, 16+ minutes and some very inspired jamming, you'll also find a rare and great mid set Cold Rain, also a nice Big Boss Man (" I sure Go to barn at night!!)the only distraction of the set was Joan Baez singing overpowering harmony during Roses.

The third set is epic. After Kesey spends about 6 minutes killing time andd conducting a "gong Bong" the countdown commences and the band powers into a nice rollicking Aiko (It was nice to see something other than Sugar Mag to kick off the Year), followed by a truly inspired Playing >> Terrapin >> Playin sandwich ("Strategy was his strength, not "Didaster""). At the end of Playin, it sounds like the drummers were stepping up to go into their bit but Jerry starts the intro and we were treated to a virtually flawless Terrapin, back into Playin. The real treats, however, were left for after drums and the 4th set. It was reminiscent, both song list and playing, of a 70-72 jam. The space is long and inspired with Jerry absolutely taking the lead and flows effortlessly into a mean Other One > NFA.> Goin Down the Road, which warmed us up for a truly inspiring Dew that soared through the darkness, and perfectly ended the set, leaving us with anticipation for what might come.
When the boys came out again, I think many were expecting a short extended encore, but, man were we in for a surprise. The whole place erupted as Phil and Jerry broke out the intro to Dark Star. this is a fairly short Star, about 14 min, but quite inspired, with some very sweet leads and interplay with the band. Jerry is crisp throughout, the band is right there with him and this performanceis as close to flawless as you will ever hear for this song. into a rocking Bertha/Good love. The lowlight of the evening was Baby Blue, nicely played, but with Joan once agin providing overpowering, annoying harmonies.This show to me is the quintessential Dead show, great song selection, great musicianship and 4 sets.
Reviewer: danmor - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 3, 2010
Subject: omg...
cant PASS THIS UP.seriously THIS is one for the books.
Reviewer: geraldusa - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 2, 2010
Subject: Another NYE Show for the Ages
Another excellent one with the usual few songs that are so-so. Have you ever noticed how many people went to those shows at the Coliseum on NYE? I guess the place must have held 2 or 3 hundred thousand. It didn't seem to be that big the few times that I was there. Nevertheless, I agree with all that said Shakedown is something to behold. Beautiful!!!
Reviewer: )€-\) H€-\) - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 29, 2009
Subject: After this ahow he
Married mountain Girl. That's a chick that never pushed him to commit. Gotta love the true flower girls from the 60's Great Show Too!!!
Reviewer: siliconcowboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 26, 2009
Subject: I was there, best ever!!!
I remember this concert like yesterday. Joan Baez did acoustic set and while it was not great, Children of the Eightees was very good, everyone liked that. I have it on tape. Aiko Aiko was perfect as we neared midnight, then Ken Kesey rode a giant reefer from over the stage to the sound set. Best ever rendition of Morning Dew, the sound was so perfect for the space that it was just totally astronomical, took me completely over the galaxy. Dark Star was a hit because it was the first in many years, but it was disappointingly mellow in retrospect. Overall, the best Grateful Dead New Years concert I ever attended. Hi to fellow attendees Bob and Mary, Zahn and Purkee, many others. Love you all. This sound quality is perfect!!! Dan
Reviewer: Dylan M - - March 12, 2009
Subject: If anyone has the acoustic set...
I want the SBD, plz plz plz help me out with it and trade me for the entire two electric sets from that night or any of my other complete 300-some-odd SBD Dead collection.
Reviewer: cringle - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 26, 2009
Subject: First Dark Star w/Brent
I think this is the 1st Dark Star w/Brent, yes? After 2.5 years in the band?

Solid show. 3+ hrs even w/o the Baez set
Reviewer: John Bouffard - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 15, 2009
Subject: One of the best!
A 16 minute Shakedown that is tops of my list. Just look at that set list! One of those shows you would have a hard time leaving behind before a road trip?
Reviewer: Tedward - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 5, 2009
Subject: flawless
I don't listen to too many new years shows but this one lives up to the new years ticket. stand outs from second set driving Cold Rain, big boss man, and a fuckin killer Shakedown jerrys vocals are so clear sounds like sweet lullaby, the band is playing a very high level.
Playin>seamless Terrapin>Playin...TOO>NFA>GDTRFB>DEW PHEW! but I really have liking for the Dark Star>Bertha pairin. the quitiessential psychadelic dead song into such a rocker like bertha my favorite dark star pairing post 80 with 7/12/90 foolish heart>dark star being right there. a REALLY TOP NOTCH SHOW, exceeds the new years ballot.
Reviewer: wrkster - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 31, 2008
Subject: Ken Kesey at New Years shows
Opening night at the run I saw him near the front of the line and on New Years in between sets before Bill Graham did the traditional New Years ritual he was hanging from the ceiling possibly swinging and he may have been hollering things I can't remember but I remember some joke he said about a guy who try's to touch his nose with his tongue and is unable to do it, so his wife tells him to stand on a ladder.
Reviewer: average_joe - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 13, 2008
Subject: Great Show, Truly Outstanding....
Now, I haven't heard all the NYE shows, but this one jumps on you quick and gets you in a stranglehold. NYE '81 is right up there with any show I've ever listened to. If the 15 minute opening Shakedown isn't enough to whip you into a frenzy, I don't know what will. It just continues on from there. Great first set and a mind blowing second set. And just when you think it's over they do a third set with a Dark Star that will make your right toe shoot up in your boot.
I'm of the opinion that there are two types of Dark Star. One type that's utterly fantastic and the other type that will melt your brain and should come with a "do not operate machinery" warning. This one is of the utterly fantastic variety.
All the good things you've heard and read about this show are true.
Hang loose and God Bless.
Reviewer: oyeman69 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 25, 2008
Subject: just found it
last night i was trying to find something from an era i often overlook. i went immediately to 1981 and decided on NYE. i don't even remember seeing this show on here. i skipped the first acoustic set with joan baez.

shakedown was great really inspirational later on cold rain and snow awesome choice...i didn't find joan to be any better nor worse than donna jean on IMHBTR...big boss man another solid choice...a very listenable minglewood..liked the dont ease

iko is actually pretty funny if you listen in the beginning you can clearly hear the rest of the band about to play not fade away and jerry just blurts out "hey now" and the band switches right to is subpar at best, the band is obviously whacked at this point....very exploratory PITB, the kind that makes you appreciate the song for what its worth...dark star tease right before terrapin station which is standard...nice segue back into playin...drums/space are what they are...i love phils intro to TOO, so smooth..short but sweet version....i like the snappy change right into NFA that progresses...GDTRFB is always a treat you can really hear bob in this emotional morning dew with nice lines from phil...whats the encore??

DARK STAR>BERTHA>GOOD LOVIN....ALL STELLAR VERSIONS...but wait they come back out for baby good.

great show for NYE good sound 4 stars
Reviewer: RFKROX - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 19, 2008
Subject: Awesome New Year's Show -- 'DA BOMB!!

This show is, without a doubt, one of the smoothest and clearest shows I’ve ever heard! If I had of attended this show, I would have been stoned-to-da-bone, jammin’, dancin’, and cruisin’ all night long, man! 5 stars and A+ recording quality, for sure. Who cares about the 1st acoustic set not being available? That doesn’t warrant rating this show “0” stars like BrianE, fredg, and Buzzoff rated it. Those 3 reviews suck!! Actually, the 1st acoustic is available on the first soundboard of this date and on speedingarrow if you want it. But you just have to know what you’re doing to access it!

I’m rating this show from the 2nd set on. Shakedown Street is off-the-hook to start this set! One of the best versions I’ve ever heard, and 16-1/2 minutes long! For all the hoopla about the 70’s Dead (which is certainly warranted), these early 80’s shows were awesome, especially with Brent Mydland finding his groove. All of these songs are awesome in Sets #2-4. Me and My Uncle, Mexicali Blues, Cold Rain and Snow, and Big Boss Man really put Set #2 in high gear. The third set is absolutely amazing starting with Iko Iko after the countdown to New Year’s, then steamrolling into Playin’ > Terrapin > Playin’ Reprise. This Drums > Space is unique because it has Jerry playing some cool mellow space guitar before storming into The Other One > NFA > GDTRFB, while ending the set with an awesome Dew (maybe one of the best ever?).

And what can you set about Set #4? Dark Star > Bertha > Good Lovin’ is absolutely ridiculous!! Just sic, man!! Even the encore is sweet, with the Boys hooking up with Joan Baez in Dylan’s classic, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”

I agree with Purple Gel in his review on the first soundboard of this show. This just may be the best New Year’s show between 1980-1988. He said he attended all of them, so that’s pretty impressive. Moreover, it certainly makes him a reputable authority to review those shows. Wish I could have said that. However, I do disagree with his assessment about the encore with Baez. I actually enjoy listening to her vocals on that song (unlike listening to Donna wailing away on some of the early-mid 70’s Dead shows). Donna’s best harmonies were clearly during the 1977 peak year before she was booted out of the band with her brother, Keith, after the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum show on 02-17-1979.

I live on the East Coast, so I didn’t get a chance to see any of those New Year’s shows that Purple Gel alluded to. In fact, my first show was at RFK Stadium in D.C. (saw the 6-9 and 6-10-73 shows) and didn’t attend another Dead show until Dylan, Tom Patty, and the Dead played at RFK Stadium on July 6-7, 1986. Man, was it hot as shit that weekend! 100 degrees! I only attended 6 Grateful Dead shows, but have seen the Dead 6 times post-Garcia. 5 of those times were at Red Rocks in Colorado in the summer of 2003 (July 6, 7, 8, 10, 11). Man were those some awesome shows with Joan Osborne! Talk about a Rocky Mountain High!! LOL

Anyway, if you want an awesome show with all these amazing sets, then you should download the soundboard. The energy and sound quality are off-the-hook! Can’t go wrong with a Grateful Dead New Year’s show!

Danny from Northern Virginia outside of Washington, D.C.
East-Coast Deadhead

Reviewer: KY. DEADICATED - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 20, 2007
Subject: Asolutely AMAZING!
This is what I think of when, GRATEFUL DEAD and NEW YEARS EVE , are in the same sentenence. without a doubt one of the best new year shows of all time. maybe baez wasn't that great to some but, for me and for the people that was there, that's just another bonus to a wonderful, out of sight show! acoustic Baez: awesome bonus.
set1:amazing! big boss man , what. get out of here. awesome! set2:good ole' amazin' dead. and set3/encore. well that speaks for itself.
Reviewer: Mikrodot - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 4, 2007
Subject: Shakedown Shakes It
I was at this show. The Joan Baez set sucked. As the boys came out to play with her, it never got any traction. It was obvious that Garcia especially just did not seem to be able to click. It sounded was flat and awkward.

Then! They started their set with Shakedown Street and it seemed that all Jerry's pent up frustration came pouring out in one outstanding performance. After trading fours with Brent, Garcia had his head down and he dug in with one long steady blistering crescendo that had us screaming. He was on fire! It was as if he was saying, "Enough of this crap, let's jam!" Afterwards he had this big grin workin' and the show was on!

After that, the boys cooked up one fine New Year's night. By the end we didn't even care if JB came back and stunk up one last tune.
Reviewer: Daddy D - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 27, 2007
Subject: Baez is BAD!
At the end of the day, I'm a bigtime Keith fan; sure, Pigpen's an iconic figure & important player in the legend that is (was?) the Grateful Dead, T.C. was, er . . . well (to tell you the truth I'm not sure what he was all about), but Keith was The Man!

No one could tickle the ivories like him, & IMHO he was the perfect accompanist to Garcia's guitar. That said, Brent is great on this version of GDTRFB. But perhaps the best reason to check out this show is to listen to Joan Baez join Jerry during the encore; have you ever heard anything so bad? I wonder what Garcia was thinking as he stood there next to her?!?!

A previous poster said something to the effect of "at least she's not as bad as Donna!" Listen, on her worst night Donna sounds like an angel compared to Baez! In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if Joan Baez had been a permanent member of the Grateful Dead, they would never have made it as a band! I don't know if Joan knows how to spell "harmony", but I can tell you that she definitely doesn't know how to sing with it! Uugh!! Yech!!
Reviewer: philphanatic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 17, 2007
Subject: inspiration
the first set, the other source is beautiful. this is craziness! 4 sets. close your eyes rip on a joint and listen to this show then try to give it a bad review. you cant.

five stars
Reviewer: Evan S. Hunt - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 15, 2007
Subject: Joan and Jerry and Baby Blue
I liked it. Joan Baez. Jerry Garcia. Powerful!
This is a good show. The is a pretty good recording and a pleasant Bertha Remaster. Great all-around, hotmike vocals.
Reviewer: Haywood J. Buzzoff - - February 28, 2007
Subject: acoutic set
It' available for dl at sugarmegs and I agree with fredg, it's all about Baez and it's bullsh!t.
Reviewer: fredg - - February 28, 2007
Subject: Believe me when I tell ya......
Believe me when I tell ya, I got the acoustic set it aint worth the 79 cent cd it's on
Reviewer: BryanE - - February 24, 2007
Subject: What about the acoustic set?
Don't see the acoustic set here on the streaming feed. How do I access it? Lucifer's Eyes? Children of the '80s? I've been around for a long time and do not know those tunes at all. I give the show a no-star because the site won't allow a review to be posted without a rating dot being filled in.
Reviewer: gdp88 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 4, 2007
Subject: wow
what a great show. Never heard it before until now, defenitly over-looked. I always had more interest in the earlier stuff but this is a must for any true head great from beginning to end.Joan gets a little overpowering but at least not as bad as donna sometimes
Reviewer: gphishmon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 1, 2007
Subject: Best show 1980-1988
I don't often give 5 star reviews to 80's shows (89 Dark Stars excepted), but this one gets one even though the Dark Star is almost an afterthought. Shakedown is one of those versions I always wanted to hear live but never did. What more needs to be said about the second set? A fast and long (15 min) Playin', and then another Playin' jam and reprise after Terrapin - intense playing (note the lower case). The way space builds into TOO is notable, and then comes a very hot NFA. Goin' Down the Road is a best ever version - can't make an acronym out of it, it's that good. And then a Dew closer! And then a third set with Dark Star!!

Sound quality is excellent. About the only negative of this show is the dying cat sound of the harmonica on Iko; a trifling matter.
Reviewer: Driftin N Dreamin - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 11, 2006
Subject: One of the best shows ever!!
What a show, 4 sets and one of the great songlists of the 80's and 90's. From the powerful Shakedown through Cold Rain , Big Boss Man to Don't Ease, the first set absolutely rocks. the second set is just one awesome jam after another with the Other One > NFA > Goin Down The Rd > Dew being epic. And the 4th set was one for the ages. The first Dark Star in almost three years (and the first 2 verse DS since the early 70's.
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